A duplex ultrasound might be performed for a number of different reasons in order to diagnose or discover different conditions. The procedure itself does not hurt and requires little to no preparation. However, it is usually a stepping stone in the process of identifying and treating a condition associated with the arteries and/or veins.
What Is a Duplex Ultrasound?
A duplex ultrasound acquires this name because it combines two different types of ultrasounds: a traditional ultrasound and a doppler ultrasound. A traditional ultrasound uses sound waves that bounce off the blood vessels in the body in order to create images that a doctor can look at. A doppler ultrasound uses sound waves that bounce off objects that are moving. This can include the blood moving through the arteries and blood vessels.
Who Needs a Duplex Ultrasound, When Do They Need It, and Why?
A duplex ultrasound might be performed to diagnose a number of different conditions. These can include:
- A blood clot
- Varicose veins
- Renal vascular disease
- Venous insufficiency
- Carotid occlusive disease
- Arterial occlusion or stenosis
- Abdominal aneurysm
People who need this procedure often have symptoms that show they have some kind of vein or arterial issue, but further insight is still required for the doctor to make a diagnosis. The procedure will need to be performed before the issue can be treated, including before surgery occurs.
Which Tests Do You Need to Do Before Getting a Duplex Ultrasound?
There are no other tests patients need to undergo before a duplex ultrasound. In some cases, doctors will want to examine the patient, either with a physical examination, an auditory examination by stethoscope, or both. This will help the doctor determine if the patient’s symptoms are likely to be caused by a problem in the veins or arteries that can be detected during a duplex ultrasound.
Which Test Will You Need After Getting a Duplex Ultrasound?
The procedures that could be required after this test will depend on your results. Your doctor may be able to determine that you have no issues with your blood flow, you have normal blood pressure, and your veins and arteries are not narrowed or blocked.
However, if you have an abnormal result on your test, you will likely need to go in for more testing and potentially even other procedures like surgery. This depends on where the abnormality is found and how you and your doctor decide to proceed with treatment.
How to Prepare for a Duplex Ultrasound
Preparing for this test usually isn’t too difficult. Most people don’t have to change their behavior at all, although, like with every medical procedure, it is best to get a good night’s sleep and to eat a healthy meal the night before. Also, if you are getting a duplex ultrasound on your abdomen, you might be asked not to eat for five hours prior to the procedure in order to minimize the potential for gas-related sounds affecting the ultrasound.
Finally, if you are a smoker, it could potentially affect the results of the procedure, as nicotine can sometimes cause the arteries to constrict. Your doctor may ask you not to smoke before the procedure.
Before, During, and After a Duplex Ultrasound
It is best to arrive at the facility at least 15 minutes before the test in order to fill out any paperwork. Also, you will need to tell the technician whether or not you are on any medication before the procedure. During the procedure, the technician will place gel on the area that is being examined and then use a wand to see into your veins. The wand will place some pressure on your skin, but it is not painful.
After the test has ended, it shouldn’t take long for your doctor to give you the results. If the results are normal, you probably won’t have to do anything else, or you and your physician will look for the cause of any symptoms you have elsewhere. If it is not, you will discuss the possibilities for further treatment.
CareCube offers a range of primary care services designed to help you maintain good overall health for many years to come. Contact us today to request an appointment and begin the treatment process.